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Calgary Pride Extends Learning Series To 2021

The Calgary Pride Learning Series is an opportunity to grow in your own learning journey alongside one of Canada’s largest Pride festivals…

By Dani Spady

Now in its 30th year, Calgary Pride is the fastest-growing major Pride festival in Canada. Located in a city that has experienced a number of economic ups and downs since the birth of Calgary Pride in the early ’90s, the organization has faced sudden and significant growth in the past few years. Growth, positive as it may be, comes with the challenge of change. Seeking to continue their own learning journey in support of the gender- and sexually diverse community, Calgary Pride has launched the free, online Calgary Pride Learning Series, and everyone is invited to join.

The Learning Series is another initiative in addition to a number of Calgary Pride community events and activities that serve all kinds of individuals and families each year, with a mission to represent and celebrate all members of the gender- and sexually diverse community. In the holiday season, Calgary Pride hosts the annual Queerly Festive Dinner, welcoming people to share a meal together in the warm spirit of belonging. An annual fundraising gala, Evolve: Pride Amplified, celebrates and supports queer youth programming. The Reading with Royalty series is one of the most popular programs Calgary Pride offers. Created in partnership with the Calgary Queer Arts Society and the Calgary Public Library, Reading with Royalty features drag monarchy reading children’s books, supporting inclusive narratives for families and children in their early years.

In early 2020, when COVID-19 put an abrupt hold on all in-person festivals and events, Calgary Pride began exploring how it could continue showing up for the community despite the restrictions on gathering. The annual Pride Parade & Festival, scheduled for early September 2020, was only the beginning.

With COVID-19 restricting the plausibility of hosting that festival, Calgary Pride switched to a fully online format and new programming possibilities in celebration of the organization’s 30th anniversary. Thanks to the support of community, partners and local #OurPride initiatives, the 2020 Calgary Pride Parade and Festival went online in the first week of September, with 231 LGBTQ2S+ artists, 61 hours of content, and 31,000 viewers virtually attending. New programming included the Calgary Pride Learning Series, featuring free community-led workshops and panel discussions on a whole host of topics affecting the gender- and sexually diverse community.

Like many other cities, Calgary has been a hub of learning and growth in response to political and social issues brought forward in the past year. The initial run of the Calgary Pride Learning Series was accessed by over 3,500 registrants in 102 workshops leading up to September 2020.

The popularity of the program, and funding support from the Canadian Red Cross, have extended the program from its original time frame into 2021. The Learning Series includes topics ranging from the very basics of LGBTQ2S+ identities to writing and storytelling, financial literacy, disability justice and more. Along with the extended Learning Series, Calgary Pride will be presenting drag monarchs reading children’s books online in the upcoming year as part of their Royalty Realness series, so the whole family can continue to learn and grow alongside one another.

Wherever you are on your learning journey, Calgary Pride invites you to join them on theirs, as they learn how to better support our community after 30 years of change.

Check out the full listing of Calgary Pride Learning Series events at

DANI SPADY (she/her) is a writer, a musician, and an advocate for the power of art and compassion in healthy communities.

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